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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Abundant supplies of Marcellus Shale gas could lead to more chemical plants

Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker in Beaver County could be the first of several large chemical plants in the region, petrochemical industry leaders and observers said at a conference in Pittsburgh Monday. That’s because there’s enough ethane being produced in the region to provide the chemical industry with the raw material without any additional drilling. [...]

Judge rules that environmental group can challenge Sunoco over pipeline eminent domain

Sunoco Logistics’ use of eminent domain to take private land to build its Mariner East 2 pipeline came into question again on Thursday when a Philadelphia court ruled that an environmental group can argue that the practice is unconstitutional. Judge Linda Carpenter of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas denied the company’s request to summarily [...]

Older Pa. gas storage wells threaten methane leaks, study says

Pennsylvania has hundreds of underground natural gas storage sites that are vulnerable to methane leaks because they were built at least 60 years ago, and were probably never designed to store gas, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday. The national study said Pennsylvania has 830 such sites that are in active use [...]

New Jersey rejects PennEast application for water permit for now, gives company new deadline

The embattled PennEast natural gas pipeline suffered another blow on Wednesday when New Jersey officials rejected the company’s current application for a freshwater wetlands permit, saying it lacked a long list of information. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection gave PennEast another 30 days to submit information ranging from tax maps and historic property [...]

Regulators to seek ways of boosting natural gas service in rural communities

A national investigation by utility regulators into ways of increasing natural gas supplies to under-served or un-served areas appears to be ignoring alternative energy sources and may be exposing those communities to high maintenance costs for new pipelines, critics said. Utility regulators are forming a task force to look at ways of supplying more gas [...]

Wolf says Act 13 language should be fixed to protect impact-fee revenue

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said late Wednesday that the wide-ranging Act 13 law should be changed to ensure that municipalities receive all the revenue they are entitled to from the state’s impact fee on gas drilling. Wolf’s office issued a statement in support of the Public Utility Commission which said Tuesday that the law’s language [...]

FERC says PennEast pipeline would have ‘less than significant’ environmental impact

The proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey would have “less than significant” environmental effects if it meets plans laid out by its builder and regulators, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Friday. In its final Environmental Impact Statement on the 120-mile project, FERC said its determination was based on information [...]

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